Mackay Northern Suburbs power project

Ergon Energy is investing in the electricity network to provide an acceptable long-term power supply to Mackay's Northern Suburbs.

To meet a growing demand for electricity in this region, Ergon Energy proposes to undertake a number of projects including:

  • Aquire easements to construct a 66,000 volt (66kV) powerline from Glenella substation to Planella substation in Rural View to distribute power at the voltage most commonly used between substations.
  • Upgrade the Planella substation in Rural View to from 33/11kV to 66/11kV to receive the power from the new powerline.
  • Acquire a substation site in Bucasia for future construction.

Project facts

  • To meet the growing need for power in Mackay's northern suburbs, Ergon Energy proposes to construct a dual circuit 66kV powerline from Glenella substation to Planella substation in Rural View.
  • This is the standard voltage for powerlines between substations in suburban and rural residential areas.
  • The meet the growing electricity needs of customers in the area, the Planella substation will be upgraded from 33/11kV to 66/11kV.
  • The proposed powerline will enter the Planella substation underground.
  • There are no changes to the overall size or boundaries of the Planella substation in Rural view, only the transformers and associated equipment inside the substation will be upgraded.
  • Studies to ensure the substation continues to meet safe noise and electric and magnetic field (EMF) levels for suburban areas will be performed during the design phase and tested after construction.
  • Construction within the substation is expected to commence in 2014 and be completed in 2016.
  • After community consultation, the land for the Bucasia substation has been acquired on the western side of the road where Mackay Bucasia Road meets Shoal Point Road.
  • Due to changes in Ergon Energy's capital work program, the Bucasia substation is not expected to be constructed until 2025.
  • A line route from the Planella substation to the new Bucasia substation has not yet been determined. This powerline is also not expected to be constructed until 2025.

Proposed Glenella to Planella powerline

Ergon Energy porposes to construct a 66kV dual circuit powerline from Glenella substation to Planella substation in Rural View. This is the standard voltage for powerlines between substations in suburban and rural residential areas.

It is proposed that the poles along the powerline will be constructed from concrete and consist of eight cables, three powerlines and an earth wire on each side.

The overhead powerline route proposed is located entirely outside Mackay Regional Council's urban planning footprint and will enter the Planella substation in Rural View underground.

Download a copy of the Glenella to Planella line route (PDF 7.6 mb) .

Proposed Powerline from Glenella to Planella

Bucasia substation site

After investigating seven potential substation sites in Bucasia, Ergon Energy has acquired a site on the western Mackay Bucasia Road near the change to Shoal Point Road.

Before acquiring the site, Ergon Energy posted newsletters to local landowners and residents, advertised the proposal in local media and ran two community information sessions in November 2012.

Very few objections to the proposed site were received, however, acknowledging concerns of residents living across the road, we redesigned the location of the substation further back on the land than originall presented in the artists impressions below. Ergon Energy has committed to using the additional land in front for further landscaping to provide better screening

A line route from the Planella substation in Rural View to the new Bucasia substation has yet to be determined as it is subject to the progress of other projects that have not been finalised.

Due to changes in Ergon Energy's capital works program, it is not expected that the powerline or the substation will be built for at least 12 years.

Bucasia map showing proposed substation site

View a map of the project area (JPG 289.4 kb)

Artist impression of the Bucasia substation from the south

ABOVE: An artist's impression of the substation drawn to scale. The substation will transform electricity entering the substation from 66kV to 11kV for distribution to surrounding homes and businesses. While these subtransmission lines and distribution lines may be overhead in some areas, they will enter and leave the substation underground which is why you cannot see any overhead powerlines in the image.

Artist impression of Bucasia substation from the north

ABOVE: This image shows an artist's impression of the substation from the only homes facing the proposed site.

Community engagement

Ergon Energy is committed to conducting comprehensive community engagement for this project.

The purpose of this initial period of community engagement is to provide balanced and objective information to local residents about the project so they may understand the need for it, our proposed solution and how it may affect the surrounding community.

We will provide information in many different ways including:

  • Sending letters to nearby local residents
  • Distributing project newsletters
  • Hosting community information sessions
  • Advertising in local newspapers
  • Posting information on this website.

Our community engagement goal

We aim to provide the community with balanced and objective information to assist in understanding the need for this project, our proposed solution and how it may affect people as well as to consider any feedback on the proposed substation site.

Our promise

We will keep the local community informed, acknowledge and consider any feedback and advise how it influenced the outcome.

Community Information Sessions

Community information sessions were held in August 2013 to gain community feedback on the Glenella to Planella 66kV powerline project.

Community information sessions were also held in November 2012 for the Bucasia substation project.

Feedback deadline

We are happy to receive feedback about all aspects of the Mackay Northern Suburbs Power Project at any time. However, specific feedback about the proposed line route from Glenella to Planella substations needed to be received by the end of August 2013 for consideration by Ergon Energy.

You can contact us by phone, email or post.

What happens next?

The Regional Asset Manager for the central region and the project manager and subject matter experts on the Glenella to Planella Line Route project continues to consider all community feedback and what, if any, action needs to be taken on the future direction of the project.

The community will be advised how their input affected the decision-making and internal approval process.

There are no local or state government approval processes required for this aspect of the project.

Project schedule*

*Subject to change

Stage Activity Timing
Network Planning
  • Identify network constraint
  • Research options
  • Determine most appropriate solution
Complete
Community Engagement
  • Inform community
  • Distribute newsletters
  • Host community information sessions
  • Consider feedback
  • Update community
Ongoing
Property Acquisition
  • Conduct site surveys and tests
  • Acquire land and easements
2013
Planning Approval**
  • Undertake appropriate internal and external approval processes
2013-2014
Construction
  • Finalise design
  • Order materials
  • Commence construction
  • Update community
2014 - 2025

Frequently asked questions

Are there any health risks associated with substations powerlines?

When substations and powerlines are discussed, many people ask about electric and magnetic fields (EMF). In response to community interest, we will continue to provide balanced and factual information about EMF.

EMF are generated by any object with electric current flowing through it including powerlines and all electrical appliances used in the home such as televisions, washing machines, microwaves, hair dryers and computers.

EMF levels quickly decrease with distance. The levels of EMF at the boundary or fence line of a substation are generally similar to those encountered by people in their daily lives.

Ergon Energy relies on expert advice on EMF from competent health authorities in Australia and around the world.

The Glenella to Planella powerline, the Planella substation upgrade and the new Bucasia substation will be designed to meet acceptable EMF standards determined by national and international guidelines issued by Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA - the federal government agency responsible for providing health assessments and recommendations to the government on matters of EMF) and the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

Visit our EMF website page for more information and links to other reputable websites that discuss this topic.

How much noise does a substation make?

Ergon Energy will comply with any regulations governing noise levels at the boundary of a substation, which is currently less than three decibels above ambient levels. We also comply with relevant noise level guidelines during the construction and maintenance of substations.

An environmental assessment outlining expected noise levels for the Bucasia substation during construction, operation and maintenance will be completed as part of the planning process.

Has ergon Energy already bought the land?

After more than five years of researching numerous options and negotiating with Mackay City/Regional Council and landowners between the two substations, a viable line route has been identified and Ergon Energy has commenced acquiring easements.

Ergon Energy has acquired the land for the Bucasia substation.

What is the planning approval process?

Other than internal approval processes, there are no local or state planning approval processes for the Glenella to Planella line route.

Under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 we can seek approval for the Bucasia substation under the Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) through a Material Change of Use (MCU) application, or by seeking Ministerial Designation for Community Infrastructure.

All requirements to meet the relevant planning process will be undertaken. This may include further rounds of community consultation as required by the relevant planning guidelines.

Newsletters

Download our newsletter about the Bucasia substation project.

Project contact details

For more information or to provide feedback about the Mackay Norther Suburbs Power Project, please contact us on:

Phone:  1300 653 055

Online: Project feedback form

Email: community@ergon.com.au

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